Volunteers donate 50% more than non-volunteers, but ten years after that discovery nonprofits don’t seem to care

Here’s a news flash so old that it’s available on microfiche down at the county library:

[H]ouseholds in which members volunteer for charitable causes or at their church give more than twice as much money to charities than households with no volunteers.

That statistic comes from research undertaken by Independent Sector in 2001.

Why cite a statistic that is older than the lunch meat in our refrigerator at work?

Because the report was a tree falling in the forest that nobody heard.

And it still falls on deaf ears today.

Think about it:

  • The single greatest differentiator between a person giving a lot or a little or even nothing at all…is whether they volunteer.
  • Want to increase the amount your donors give…by FIFTY PERCENT? Get them to volunteer.
  • Did you hear that? A FIFTY PERCENT INCREASE!!! What other tool or technique or strategy offers that kind of return?
    • Not wealth identifier indices.
    • Not underlining words the right away or leading with the right headline.
    • Even a 10 to 15 percent increase in your fundraising results over the previous year would be heralded as a hugely successful fundraising campaign. But FIFTY PERCENT??? Get out of here. That’s fundraising hall of fame level stuff.

Here’s the weird thing:

When Independent Sector published their report on that 2001 study, they didn’t even highlight that stat. They buried the proverbial lead, as it were.

So it’s not surprising that ten years later, most fundraisers still have never heard of that study.

So we quote it again here, in hopes that someone will notice.

Happy birthday, Independent Sector study. Here’s hoping that by the time you turn twenty, we nonprofits will have gotten your message.

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is the former International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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4 Responses to Volunteers donate 50% more than non-volunteers, but ten years after that discovery nonprofits don’t seem to care

  1. Good stuff, Eric. And we can attest to its validity at CRI.

  2. Pingback: Why you should not outsource your fundraising « Transformational Giving

  3. Pingback: Crowdsourcing more than money from your donors « Transformational Giving | Everything Organic

  4. Pingback: Research: Asking People to Volunteer Before Asking Them To Give Doubles Donation Dollars « Transformational Giving

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